March 3, 2017


To:

Miami’s Jewish Community

From:



Amy Dean, Chair of the Board
Jacob Solomon, President and CEO
Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Subject: Anti-Semitism and Security


For the past several weeks, across our nation, more than 120 Jewish Community Centers, schools and other institutions have been the target of anonymous bomb threats. Vandals have desecrated Jewish cemeteries. Bullets were fired into a synagogue. Swastikas were carved into the paint of automobiles right here on Miami Beach. These incidents have traumatized families and young children, destabilized our communal infrastructure and caused us all to think about security in the Jewish community at the highest level.

We are writing to brief you on Federation’s response and our ongoing effort to secure our community. While the increased threats are deeply troubling, we have always taken community security very seriously. In recent years, we have stepped up our funding and activities in this and other related areas, including:

1. This past year, Federation created an Office of Community Security headed by a high-ranking FBI veteran. This office is charged with advising and assisting our local Jewish community, its synagogues, schools and organizations. It provides consultation, training and communications networks, and – very importantly – it deepens our community’s relationships with law enforcement on multiple levels. We are also organizing workshops and training exercises for some of the worst scenarios that, unfortunately, in this environment must be addressed. Just this week, on behalf of Homeland Security, we hosted an all-day active shooter training workshop for key constituencies in coordination with local and federal law enforcement.

2. Our Director of Community Security maintains daily contact with law enforcement and monitors for potential threats to the Jewish community. It continually works with individual institutions and law enforcement to maximize preventative strategies and create an environment of preparedness. This has resulted in a significant increase in police physical presence and law enforcement focus on Jewish communal facilities.

3. Together with Federations across the country, we support a national initiative – the Secure Community Network (SCN) – that is central to the American Jewish community’s response to heightened security concerns. SCN is the designated interface between Homeland Security and the Jewish community. It alerts Jewish institutions to potential threats to keep us safe. SCN ensures that the security needs of our community continue to remain a top focus of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies charged with safeguarding our country and communities from the risk of terror attacks.

4. Our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), working with The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington Office, has helped local Jewish schools, synagogues and organizations throughout Miami-Dade County to access federal funds to harden their facilities. To date, 86 Homeland Security grants totaling more than $6 million have been awarded to 47 Jewish institutions in Miami-Dade County.

5. Federation is reaching out to local Jewish cemeteries and other cemeteries with Jewish sections to determine what security measures they are taking to protect gravesites. In addition, we are asking local police to be extra watchful to ensure that these sacred grounds are secure.

6. Our JCRC, in collaboration with our partner agencies, strives to combat the seeds of anti-Semitism on many fronts. It works with the Florida Department of Education to ensure textbook accuracy; to develop Holocaust awareness; to provide context and accurate information on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and to confront instances of school-based anti-Semitism as they arise.

Of special note: Last Sunday, an Open Letter from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation about anti-Semitism and hate ran in The Miami Herald, as well as an announcement about an Interfaith Community Gathering on Holocaust Remembrance Day – Yom HaShoah, Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 5 p.m. at the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach. CLICK HERE to see the ad and to share with your friends on social media. For more information on the gathering, please contact our JCRC at 786-866-8486 or communityrelations@gmjf.org.

As we maintain this strong focus on security, we never lose sight of our responsibility to care for those in need in Miami, in Israel and in more than 70 other countries around the world. That can only happen with a strong, resilient and united Jewish community. We must do whatever necessary to maintain our resolve, never allowing those who wish us harm to keep us from participating fully in our wonderful and vibrant Jewish community.

If you feel moved to help support our work, please CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Annual Greater Miami Jewish Federation/UJA Campaign.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns by calling the Greater Miami Jewish Federation at 305.576.4000 or emailing communityrelations@gmjf.org.

Thank you for caring about the shared values of the Jewish people. Shabbat Shalom.